from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- adj. In mathematics, not capable of being expressed in rational numbers.
- adj. In phonetics, uttered with breath and not with voice; devoid of vocality; not sonant: toneless: specifically applied to the breathed or non-vocal consonants of the alphabet.
- adj. Meaningless; senseless.
- v. To render dim or soft; mute.
The problems have a surd or irrational element in them; and to solve them would be to bring reason into collision with itself.
Even then there was no uproar, no rush or push, no sharp cries or frenzied shouting; but from the crowd, which was largely made up of elderly men, there rose a sort of surd, rich hum, deepening ever, and never breaking into a shriek of torment or derision.
This word comes from the Latin ‘surdus,’ speechless.